In May of this year, my health insurance subsidy magically disappeared. A bill arrived in which the premium had gone up so much that there was no way we’d be able to pay it. Long story short, I ended up having to pick a new plan.
At the time, I had a Silver plan. The subsidy helped me pay for it and my premiums were low enough to make it possible for me to afford health insurance coverage. My husband and I are both disabled, and my attempt to get Social Security Disability was denied – so I can’t get Medicare. I’m stuck with individual health insurance from a private company.
Before my health insurance premium magically disappeared, I signed up for a separate health insurance plan that covered dental care. (The Silver plan did not cover it.) I got it at a nice, low, premium – that may or may not have been somehow connected to my subsidy that helped me pay for the Silver plan.
There is one dentist that will accept my dental health insurance. The cards that prove I have insurance arrived. I’ve called the dentist – but never got a call back. I’m going to have to play phone tag with the dentist until someone over there hears me and gives me an appointment. If that doesn’t work, I’m gonna literally walk in their door and stay there until I get an appointment.
I’m assuming, of course, that the dental plan we paid for is still valid. The premium was so low we were able to pay for the whole year at once. If it turns out the insurance is invalid because I had to switch from a Silver plan to a Bronze plan, then my attempt to secure dental care has resulted in a waste of money.
So, in May, I ended up going with a Bronze plan. It has a deductible, which, of course, I must pay down out-of-pocket before the Bronze plan covers anything. I think maybe I still have a subsidy, but less than the subsidy I had before. My income has not changed, so I cannot explain what happened to the subsidy I originally had.
I was also able to pick up a very basic vision plan. I haven’t had my eyes checked in years, and the Bronze plan doesn’t cover dental or vision. There’s a chance I might need bifocals, and those are probably more expensive than the years-old glasses I’m wearing now. Hopefully, the vision plan has good coverage.
I’ve no idea what the vision plan covers, though, because they never bothered to send me anything. No cards, no “welcome to” letter, no information on what is covered – NOTHING. Hell, I don’t even know for sure there’s a vision care doctor in my area that takes this insurance.
I’m typing this at the very end of July of 2017. The Bronze plan was supposed to start as of July 1. But, guess what? Yep, that’s right! They failed to send me any insurance cards. So, that’s an entire month where I paid for coverage that I cannot access because they didn’t send me the cards.
It is my understanding that there is one doctor that takes this Bronze plan. He better be taking new patients! I have no idea what I’m supposed to do if the one doctor that accepts the Bronze plan won’t see me.
In the news this week, the GOP tried to pass two different “health care” plans that would rip away health care access to billions of Americans. Fortunately, the Democrats, the two Independents, and three Republicans prevented that from happening.
As a result, Trump is having a temper tantrum and signaling that he intends to crash the insurance marketplaces so that the Democrats will HAVE TO pass one of the GOPs dangerous so-called “health care” bills. I’ve heard (but have not done research on it) that he can do that by ripping away the subsidies.
I am so tired of having to scramble around and figure out why my health insurance coverage magically disappeared. This happened when I was on Medicaid. I got a bill that should have been covered, made a bunch of calls (long story short) and learned that I was suddenly off Medicaid.
No explanation. No help from the person who was supposed to work on that and help me. Through the efforts of myself and my husband, we learned that getting thrown off Medicaid was an qualifying event that would enable me to obtain private insurance coverage with a subsidy even though it wasn’t an open enrollment period. That’s when I got the Silver Plan (which I no longer have).
Now, I’m right back to that stressful, terrifying, place again, wondering where the hell my health insurance cards are. Will they arrive before, or after, the GOP dismantles the current “Obamacare” system (out of spite)?
This situation, that keeps happening over and over again like that “Groundhog Day” movie, is exactly why we need single payer health care. Call it single payer, Medicaid for All, or Medicare for all – whatever you prefer. That system works in the UK, AU, and CA. It can work here, too.
Single payer means never having to wonder if your subsidy magically disappeared, or why you suddenly got dropped from Medicaid without a word or warning. It means the GOP can’t try to pass a bill in the middle of the night that would rip away health insurance coverage from billions of Americans.